Published on August 15th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford


Kendrick Perkins On Debunked Ncaa “Rich Paul Rule,” “They Don’t Want Guys To Have Control Of Their Own Situations!”

Kendrick Perkins played in the NBA for 14-seasons in which he won an NBA title in 2008 as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Kendrick Perkins was a force on the basketball court during his 14-years in the NBA. He entered the league out of high school [Clifton J. Ozen] in Beaumont, Texas. He was selected with the 27th overall pick by the Memphis Grizzles and then traded to the Boston Celtics in the notable 2003 draft. That draft class also featured, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade. Known for his toughness, leadership and on court presence, Perkins won an NBA title in 2008 as a member of the Boston Celtics. He would reach the Finals again in 2012 as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder but fell short to the Miami Heat. Since his 2018 retirement, “Perk” has been a frequent guess on both ESPN’s “First Take” and Fox Sports, “Undisputed,” where he showcases his basketball IQ, his passion for the game as well as offering his opinion on touchy/hot topics. His ability to speak on essential topics while not biting his tongue has been refreshing and continuously stirs the pot.

I caught up with the NBA veteran to discuss the NCAA’s brief standing, “Rich Paul Rule,” his relationship with top-tier managers, Luke and Chaz Cervino and he also explains why he feels, Bronny James and other high school stars will skip college ball.

You took to social media to address the, Rich Paul situation. Although the NCAA has since reneged on their stance, the fact that they attempted to take a stance I’m sure was bothersome to you.

Kendrick Perkins: Yeah, absolutely, man. They call it the “Rich Paul Rule,” but in actuality, it really was affecting the new generation that’s coming up and the guys who are actually in the league right now. They trying to take out the, Uncle Dennis’ who is Kawhi Leonard’s uncle. They don’t want guys to have control of their own situation! They still trying to make it where they are taking family members out of the situations or they are more so taking the African American community out of the situation. Because they know a lot of people don’t have their degrees. I made a post about it and I said, “Okay, well if that’s the case, how about the NBA make a criteria where, you have to be done played at a division one college level or in the NBA to be a general manager in the league or even a coach in the league. That makes no sense. Just because you haven’t played basketball doesn’t mean that you’re not a student of the game of basketball.

Going back to that, “Rich Paul Rule,” they had no choice but to renege on it, man. They know they were absolutely wrong. It’s crazy because it’s, Bron [LeBron James] and Rich Paul and they are doing it their way. Think about it, these are guys that came from nothing and they have developed it into a billion-dollar corporation. It’s a billion-dollar name with, LeBron, Mav, Randy and Rich. And people don’t like it. And now all of these “big name agents” with all these degrees and master’s degrees are losing clients to a guy by the name of, Rich Paul who is just coming in speaking facts. He’s not speaking big words, no, he’s just coming in speaking facts and getting stuff done and they don’t like it because they are doing it their way. I’m glad that a lot of player’s took a stance on this. I’m pretty sure that, Adam Silver played a major part in it.

You recently praised him on social media as well.

Kendrick Perkins: He is one of the best commissioners that we had in sports today. That’s without a doubt. He’s a player’s commissioner. He likes to solve things and cut to the chase. He likes to solve the problem right there and have everybody come to an agreement. That’s why the NFL recruited him so hard last year to replace, Roger. This is the impact that he has.

You’re a fight fan as well. Everything you just said about, Rich Paul resembles a lot of what, Al Haymon went through when he was breaking into boxing. A lot of hurdles were placed in his way as well and he cleared them with flying colors.

Kendrick Perkins: Right! And what they don’t understand is, it’s going to make it worse. Now, with these upcoming athletes, like this, [Emoni] Bates kid and even, Bronny James [LeBron James Jr.] … think about it, you think, Zion Williamson had an affect on college basketball. Could you imagine, LeBron James Jr. in college and how big that could or would be. But think about it, the NCAA takes a shot at, Rich Paul and Klutch [Sports], so how you think, LeBron is feeling? And he posted a tweet about it. If it comes about, don’t be surprised if we see, Bronny say, you know, I’m going overseas after my high school career. And go make 8-10 million dollars for that one year and then come back to the NBA, but they doing it to themselves, bro.

You bypassed college and went straight to the NBA from high school and parlayed that into a 14-year career with a world-title. Do you think we could see these guys look elsewhere with this one-year-rule and then come back to the league after going overseas for a year?

Kendrick Perkins: Absolutely! This my thing, to the average fan, people who go play basketball, this is a hobby to them. But they have to realize, this is a job for guys. This is something that guys are getting paid for. Yeah you love it, but you’re doing this to get paid. And at the end of the day, why are you stopping it? If a guy is good enough to come out of high school, why are you stopping him from starting his career early? That don’t make no sense. So, going to college helps him with his career? How? If I had to go back and change the hands of time, I wouldn’t do nothing differently. Even though I didn’t play my first couple of years in the NBA, I still got adjusted to the NBA lifestyle. And still to this day, when you come out of college, college dudes gotta get adjusted to the NBA lifestyle. No matter how you wanna look at it.

What’s going to happen is, it’s like this kid that just left to go to… I think the Australian League, he’s one of the top recruits [RJ Hampton]. He was committed to go somewhere, but he’s leaving this summer to go play overseas. You’re going to see that because guess what, these guys are still going to come back and get drafted. So why not go overseas to make a couple of million opposed to going to college and make money for these big schools and watch the head coaches get paid $10 million dollars a year for a decade. That’s unheard of. It’s getting ridiculous, bro. Listen, it’s no knock on, John Calipari. I signed with, John Calipari. It’s no knock on, Coach K, but these guys are signing 90-100 million-dollar deals in college. Like seriously, man. Come on, bro. And they wear a suit and tie on the bench. At the end of the day, I’m not taking nothing away from these guys. They are great coaches and they are going to go down as the best college coaches ever, but come on, man. You’re getting 3 or 4 and, in some cases, the top 5 out of 20 guys come to your school with every recruiting class. How are you not going to be good? It makes no sense. Think about this, last year, Coach K had, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Reddish and the lil point guard. He had 4-guys that were all, McDonald’s All-American’s go to Duke. How are you not going to be successful. These kids aren’t able to make a dime off the court; no kind of money. That could have been really tragic when, Zion’s shoe blew out on the court. That could have really hurt that kid. I’m glad that rule got overturned because it was just a BS rule.

You have a great team around you, Luke and Chaz Cervino [Today’s Athlete’s] are great guys. How important was it for you to surround yourself with not only good people, but both are former athletes, so they can relate to your situations?

Kendrick Perkins: Oh yeah, absolutely. “Today’s Athlete” is a great foundation. This is what I always say, Majority of the kids that’s coming up in the NBA, we all pretty much have the same background with the exception of a few. Man, take control of your own situation. Go get people that’s qualified. It’s a rare breed where you have a, LeBron James situation and a Rich Paul and Mav Carter and a Randy or an Uncle Dennis who is with, Kawhi. It doesn’t happen that often. A lot of these people come in and you know their dad, their mom or uncle is running things. They never had their hands-on millions of dollars or was able to do this type of thing. I just want to make sure that, once these guys get there, yes, it’s cool to have these people playing roles, but make sure they know that you’re the guy calling shots. And go get qualified people to run your things. Not saying everybody is qualified. Shit, obviously the people who stole money from, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, they had degrees themselves, that don’t mean they were qualified. I’m saying that to say, make sure you are doing the right things in your best interest and what is comfortable for you.

Chaz and Luke were recommended to me by my big brother, Kevin Garnett. I know one thing about him, when he recommends somebody, it’s not going to be BS, it’s going to be straight legit. Since, “KG” done took over his own thing, especially in retirement, he does his research on everything. It’s not like he’s sending it to somebody. No, he’s overlooking situations himself. And I think that’s what a lot of people need to start doing. It only takes one time. We have all been burnt in some type of way to where it makes you open your eyes and say, “Hold on, man. I need to get a grip and start watching out and looking out for what I need to look out for.”

Being that, “KG” came from a shitty situation, I’m sure that you knew he did his due diligence before pointing you in the direction of, Luke and Chaz and it seems to be working out great.

Kendrick Perkins: Absolutely! I knew he did his research. Like I said, man, we all done been burnt. It probably hasn’t been public, but in some type of way we have all been burnt by somebody. At the end of the day it only takes one time. You fall, but you get back up, you learn your lesson. You learn from it and you move on. To these young guys that’s coming up, I would just tell them to use their sources. In today’s game, we have a great player’s association. An association that’s willing to reach out, that’s willing to help and willing to provide resources for us. We need to start using that, man because it’s strong right now. It will help and take you a long way.

On a lighter note, you have always been known as the scary dude. I told, Luke the other day, you look like the most unapproachable guy on earth, but the more I see you on television now. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Do you embrace that, or does it bother you that people think you are this mean dude?

Kendrick Perkins: (Laughing) It’s crazy, man. It bothers me because I’ll be walking through the airport and people be like, “Perk, man, can I get a picture with you?” and I’m like, “Yeah man, it’s cool. What’s happening?” And they be like, “Ah man, you’re really cool.” They gotta understand, when I was on the court, man, that’s a job. But man, I’m the most laid back, coolest, give the shirt off my back dude that you will ever want to meet, man. That’s just me. I got a great personality and people are just starting to really see that because you didn’t see this side of me. So, when I came on TV, it was like a surprise like, “Hold on, man, this Kendrick Perkins?” It’s really me. This is who I really am outside of basketball. Outside the lines this is who I am. I’m a family man. I’m married with 4-kids. This is who I am. I have fun with my kids. I go to waterparks; I go paint balling and do stuff like that. this is who I am.

And that’s what I love about you because you come across as real authentic on the show. It looks like you made an agreement that you would do the show if you didn’t have to compromise who you are and what you say.

Kendrick Perkins: You know what, I ain’t changing who I am. I know I’m a country boy from Beaumont, Texas. I’m a dude who coming in and calling a spade a spade and a heart a heart. I’m not trying to kill nobody character, but if I see something that I don’t like I’m going to say something about it. If I feel like somebody needs to be praised, I’m going to praise them about it. There is no in between with me. You are either going to get all this or you’re going to get all that. I think with TV it let’s me be myself. It let’s me speak on what I know and what I know is the game of basketball. I study this. In the bible, God had his rules in order. You should love this, that and the other. In my book, it’s basketball first (laughing), you know what I’m saying. That’s how much love I got for it, man. I got that much love for the game. Besides playing it for 14-years, I’m a student of the game and people can’t take that away from me. It’s not an arrogant thing, but I feel like, if I wanted to, I can sit down at the table with the best of them and talk the game of basketball.

You don’t have to be an All-Star, you don’t have to be a Hall of Famer or none of that to know the game of basketball. If you look at it, think about all the head coaches that’s in the league that played the game. Majority of all the head coaches that played the game were basically role players. Steve Kerr, role player, Scott Brooks, role player, Jason Kidd was elite. He was an All-Star but look at Tyrone Lue… role player. Because role players understand the game to a different level. Role players can touch people in the locker room that superstars really can’t. Does that make sense?

That makes a lot of sense.

Kendrick Perkins: Because superstars are already superstars. But when you’re a role player, you can understand the guys who are not superstars and help them buy into your system as a role player to be successful. You look at, Doc Rivers… role player. It just trickles down.

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